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Loving a Lifer For those whose loved one is serving a life sentence.

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  #1  
Old 09-23-2020, 09:30 PM
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So, years ago I made a conscious and deliberate choice to love a lifer because of who he was as a man and human being. I knew what his sentence was and admired the fact he always keeps the faith that times will change and society will no longer see him as irredeemable. The difficult thing is that we work toward his freedom and he gets very hopeful, but I am a realist and know that the chances of turning things around are slim. I wonder what will happen when we have exhausted all avenues and he has to face the fact that he is likely to die in there. I think that we on the outside cannot know the internal struggle that goes on to keep despair at bay with a sentence like this. Fifty three thousand prisoners in the U.S. have this sentence. Loving one is a huge responsibility because you can't just waltz into the life of someone who is sometimes literally fighting for his sanity and play around for a while before you leave. One of the most heart wrenching things he said to me was that he taught himself to be understanding when someone said, "I can't do this anymore" and left him behind. He schooled himself to be grateful for the love and support in years gone by. I didn't really understand when I met him through a friend how serious his situation was. I didn't understand the war he had to wage with himself to come to terms with Life. It has deepened my respect for him to learn the complexities of this sentence. I wish that society had the opportunity to know as I do; then, perhaps, there would be mercy.
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:53 AM
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I believe we all feel the way you do about someone in our lives. We most certainly feel that way about the system. My man said he would understand if I needed a companion while he's locked up, but I can't do that to him. There would be resentment when he got out at the very least. It would damage our relationship I believe beyond repair and not help his esteem at all. The question is, have you accepted his, and now your, fate?
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:40 PM
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I have accepted it, but I don't think he can totally get there because hanging onto hope allows him to not let despair overwhelm him. I worry about that day if all we do to fight for his freedom fails. For example, one day I told him that I wanted to move closer to his prison, but I would have to get another kind of a job because there would not be opportunities there. He said he didn't want to live in that town, which missed the point because the only reason I would move there would be because he is in prison there. I think having a purpose will be very important for him when that day comes. To die in prison is a horrible thing. To not be with him when that end comes is also horrible. There are many things that I can't look forward to, like any surety the gates will open. Somehow I am at peace with that because I am busy in my life and very independent. It is a very different way to live, for sure, and I can talk to so few about it. It feels very heavy sometimes...
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:42 PM
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And I agree with you about loyalty being important. You can't build a full relationship if you are not all in. It wouldn't do me any good to get a companion anyway because he would not be the one I long for...
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Old 09-24-2020, 11:51 PM
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Am also in the same boat but he doesn't want me to help with anything. He's been there for 10yrs & I think he accepted that he's probably going to die in San Quentin. I try to stay positive for him & I do at times feel like he can get out & we'll be able to live our lives together but that's a slim chance. Wish they would jus let him off deathrow
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Old 09-25-2020, 12:00 AM
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wow, this really hit me tonight. My husband has life with possibility of parole. Which translates to he has life. He had a chance out here, and he got in trouble so hes been back in with a life tail yet again. I am struggling in a deep way. Mine has hope that he will get out due to him being a juvenile at that time of the crime. Me...after 16 years and many promises of possible release, I have lost most of my hope. All the power to you if you can hang in there. Im holding on by a thread and a weak one at that.
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:21 AM
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wow, this really hit me tonight. My husband has life with possibility of parole. Which translates to he has life. He had a chance out here, and he got in trouble so hes been back in with a life tail yet again. I am struggling in a deep way. Mine has hope that he will get out due to him being a juvenile at that time of the crime. Me...after 16 years and many promises of possible release, I have lost most of my hope. All the power to you if you can hang in there. Im holding on by a thread and a weak one at that.
I think that if mine got out and then ended back up inside I would have a tough time of continuing on in the relationship, too! You have to do what works. Inside or out, a relationship needs to feed both people! Bottom line, if you can't imagine life without him, you will find a way. If you decide that it would be less painful and more fulfilling to move on, then you must. I won't stay with my man just because of his situation. He has to do the work to maintain. I don't think he understands how tough it is sometimes because he doesn't want to. He is always afraid that I will be gone. He actually expected it so much at first that he was very callous in his treatment of me, and I called for a break. He apparently settled a few things within himself because he is impressing the hell of me now. He must never take my love and support for granted because of this situation. It requires him to be deeper, to find ways to overcome the wall. It is my commitment to hang in there, but a lot of that depends on him. I feel your dilemma and I admire that you have been there all this time. There is great strength in you!!!
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:33 AM
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My view on things after almost 6 years loving a lifer is that you can make it happen, especially when there's a chance your lifer will come home at some point in the not so distant future BUT... based on my personal experience, it just takes two to do the work on the relationship. Didn't happen for me so I stepped back. Not giving up on him, never, I want him home and safe and happy. So I left him. There was nothing for me left in this relationship, I was fighting a lonley battle and he didnt' fight at all. It's all good. I'm happy. Sad but happy.
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Old 09-25-2020, 11:13 AM
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My view on things after almost 6 years loving a lifer is that you can make it happen, especially when there's a chance your lifer will come home at some point in the not so distant future BUT... based on my personal experience, it just takes two to do the work on the relationship. Didn't happen for me so I stepped back. Not giving up on him, never, I want him home and safe and happy. So I left him. There was nothing for me left in this relationship, I was fighting a lonley battle and he didnt' fight at all. It's all good. I'm happy. Sad but happy.
I am sad to hear this but I think it is good that you recognized what you need and valued yourself enough to cut loose from something that had become unfulfilling. There is little chance mine will come home so I don't spend any time wishing or thinking about that possibility. It makes his efforts so much more important because he can't expect me to be there if he is not doing his very best to feed the relationship. I think that gets to be a tough call for many of these guys because they either grew up on the streets in survival mode or have some type of dysfunction that has led them into a life of crime. I will always be his advocate but whether I will be his best friend and love is tied to some conditions. Love can be unconditional but behavior is not. Either way, this is a heavy lift and there are times when I am very on top of it and times when it burdens me.
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Old 09-29-2020, 02:32 PM
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So, years ago I made a conscious and deliberate choice to love a lifer because of who he was as a man and human being. I knew what his sentence was and admired the fact he always keeps the faith that times will change and society will no longer see him as irredeemable. The difficult thing is that we work toward his freedom and he gets very hopeful, but I am a realist and know that the chances of turning things around are slim. I wonder what will happen when we have exhausted all avenues and he has to face the fact that he is likely to die in there. I think that we on the outside cannot know the internal struggle that goes on to keep despair at bay with a sentence like this. Fifty three thousand prisoners in the U.S. have this sentence. Loving one is a huge responsibility because you can't just waltz into the life of someone who is sometimes literally fighting for his sanity and play around for a while before you leave. One of the most heart wrenching things he said to me was that he taught himself to be understanding when someone said, "I can't do this anymore" and left him behind. He schooled himself to be grateful for the love and support in years gone by. I didn't really understand when I met him through a friend how serious his situation was. I didn't understand the war he had to wage with himself to come to terms with Life. It has deepened my respect for him to learn the complexities of this sentence. I wish that society had the opportunity to know as I do; then, perhaps, there would be mercy.
Thanx for this thread... It is not an easy thing to deal with. I'm optimistic person, and I cling to my faith and I hope that everything gonna be ok but...
It is a constant struggle for them between hope and letting themselves be institutionalized and give up life on the outside.
Some days are good day but some are very bad.
Growing old in prison, mourning all the things they can't have.
My experience is :
I had a 12-year relationship with a lifer before he left me for the first time. After two years he please me to come back to me, i did because I do love him. He completely changed, his struggle became daily. He tries to be positive but how can he be positive? Every day for the last 6 months he has been testing my loyalty, he has tried to make me jealous, to see if I was still able to endure and love him despite everything. It was exhausting Unfortunately, I learned that I was sick, I have cancer... It was the last straw. He pushed me to the limit, he lied to me, he invented terrible things to get me away from him. I almost let go, but for me it was impossible to believe him and I wouldn't have left until he told the truth. Finally he admitted his lies and told me that he would rather imagine that I was living a happy life than find out that I was dead. Growing old in prison means having to grieve for everything, to see others living outside without ever being able to imagine that it will happen to them one day.
Life sentences are real torture. I admire that my man is held 24 years, he spent half of his life in prison.
I think it's normal for them to give up and live their life inside cutting themselves off from the world. Even though I love him more than anything, I'm starting to get used to the idea of letting him live his life inside. I'm not quite ready, but I can let him lives between two rivers...
I find these sentences too heavy, with no chance of redemption. I hope with all my heart that things will change.
I'm French and this kind of sentence doesn't exist here, it goes against human rights.
If you know of any associations that are fighting against this, I would be happy if you could put me in touch.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:31 PM
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The struggle is real... I do not think you can maintain a relationship like this unless things are comfortable between you. There are already too many obstacles to overcome and fighting between yourselves makes the sacrifice too great. I know that because we were like that in the beginning and I cut him off several times due to disrespect issues and boundary violations. He just kept trying and asked me not to give up on him and things got better. At first he treated me callously because he did not think I would stick around. That offended my soul and I left him for me. Now we are peaceful and have a lot of fun when we can communicate, which has gotten much harder this year due to COVID and his fall from grace with two months in the hole because he refused to snitch. He is trying his best and that is all I have a right to ask. If you want to help with prison reform, there are many organizations, such as the Sentencing Project, which works on LWOP issues. This sentence is the ultimate cruelty and there is a lot of literature out there about the psychological struggles that lifers have to go through to acquire the coping skills they need to survive. Mine is serving his time with great dignity and grace and I admire the hell out of him. I tell him often how thankful I am to have gotten to know him, and I am a much better human being for it. He tells me that I am "air." We are very kind to each other now because life inside and out beats you up enough. Don't stay in your relationship if it is full of drama or negativity. He has to work for you and make his absence in your everyday life worth it. Take care and listen to your instincts!!!
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:54 PM
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:47 PM
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You gals are the salt of the earth. God bless you all.
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Old 10-03-2020, 02:11 AM
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The struggle is real... I do not think you can maintain a relationship like this unless things are comfortable between you. There are already too many obstacles to overcome and fighting between yourselves makes the sacrifice too great. I know that because we were like that in the beginning and I cut him off several times due to disrespect issues and boundary violations. He just kept trying and asked me not to give up on him and things got better. At first he treated me callously because he did not think I would stick around. That offended my soul and I left him for me. Now we are peaceful and have a lot of fun when we can communicate, which has gotten much harder this year due to COVID and his fall from grace with two months in the hole because he refused to snitch. He is trying his best and that is all I have a right to ask. If you want to help with prison reform, there are many organizations, such as the Sentencing Project, which works on LWOP issues. This sentence is the ultimate cruelty and there is a lot of literature out there about the psychological struggles that lifers have to go through to acquire the coping skills they need to survive. Mine is serving his time with great dignity and grace and I admire the hell out of him. I tell him often how thankful I am to have gotten to know him, and I am a much better human being for it. He tells me that I am "air." We are very kind to each other now because life inside and out beats you up enough. Don't stay in your relationship if it is full of drama or negativity. He has to work for you and make his absence in your everyday life worth it. Take care and listen to your instincts!!!
Thanx for your kind words. It's great to find people who do understand this situation.
It's a long way with up and down. This last weeks were to difficult but very necessary to take off what we kept on your chest since years.
I think the base of a string relationship with a person who is serving a life sentence is to tell the truth, what ever is hard to say or to hear, tell when we are down, and strong confidence. My love had difficulties to say when he is not ok, he wants to look like strong man, weakness in prison it's something hard to handle.
I'm understand that sometimes he needs to go to his shell. I never understood that before.
I always considered him like person, a normal person, never like an inmate, I never wanted that he feels bad, ashamed or uncomfortable with prison life. It was a mistake, I denied a part of him and his life. He was ok with that because he felt like normal person, but it gave it too much troubles and pressures Too often I forgot the emotional load of prison. Now I understood that I have to consider him like a person in prison. Our relationship is much better. We learn everyday to find a bounce between good and bad days...

I hope everything gonna be ok for all of us ! What ever happened love is always the answer <3

Sorry for my English.
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Old 10-03-2020, 10:56 AM
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LOL. Love is just the beginning!!! You have a good handle on this situation. Prison is their life and their culture and it is part of them. My man turns into a big dork when he's being real))) That was funny to learn about him because he was so macho when I first met him. I have become his safe space to vent and sometimes what he talks about seems trivial to me until I put myself in that culture, where even little things can become life threatening. The thing with love is that you can't picture your life without that person and that makes them irreplaceable. So, you find a way to deal. There are always sacrifices to love, they are just bigger than usual in this situation. And there are plenty of bad times (he is on lockdown right now and haven't heard from him for days). I always have a Plan A and a Plan B so if something goes wrong on that end, which seems to be a regular occurrence, I can still enjoy the holiday, etc. However, I have yet to be able to pull off a wonderful Christmas because something always goes wrong and that has become my big challenge in life)) Maybe this year...
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:20 PM
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